Solon calls for fuel subsidy for farmers, veggie truckers
Benguet Rep. Eric Yap has called for an expanded fuel subsidy program for the transport sector which would include vegetable farmers and truck dealers in Benguet and other provinces.
Yap, during the 5th Farmers’ Congress at the Benguet Sports Complex gym, said he has already appealed to the Department of Transportation for the inclusion of vegetable truckers for its fuel subsidy program.
“If they are given a subsidy, kahit papaano, mabibigyan nila ng discount ang farmers sa hauling cost nila, so magiging win-win solution ito,” Yap said.
The Department of Budget and Ma-nagement released last week P3 billion-worth of fuel subsidy – P2.5 billion for the public transport sector and P500 million for farmers and fisher folks. There are 377,443 beneficiaries eligible for the fuel subsidy.
Yap said while waiting for a response from the DOTr, he has also tapped the Department of Social Welfare and Development to provide payout from the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation funding for the province’s transport sector including farmers.
He said the local transport sector and farmers could get fuel subsidy from these programs, whichever comes first.
As for the P500 million subsidy for farmers and fisherfolk, the Department of Agriculture said the farmers covered for the subsidy are for corn farmers and fisherfolk only.
Yap said he seek an audience with Agriculture Secretary William Dar to include vegetable farmers in the fuel subsidy.
In an earlier statement, Dar said the fuel subsidy would only apply to farmers and fishers who own agricultural or fishery machinery individually or through farmer organizations, cooperatives, or organizations.
Also, Yap said they are lobbying for the conduct of special sessions in Congress to discuss and pass a measure automatically reducing or suspending the fuel excise tax once a certain price is reached.
Congress is currently working for the approval of the Bayanihan III fund especially with the ongoing fuel crisis.
The Cabinet’s Economic Development Cluster has recommended increasing the transport sector’s subsidy from P2.5 billion to P5 billion amidst rising fuel charges. – Ofelia C. Empian